An open letter to Moms of America

Anthony Rao
May 6 · 3 min read

Take care of yourself — It will help you take better care of your kids

Dear Moms of America,

I know you want the best for your kids. You want them to be happy, be their best, to do great in school, and someday of get into a good college.

You are driving them everywhere and planning everything for the family. There’s rushing around to practices, music lessons, tutoring, and playdates. Dealing with the nightly pushback of homework. Planning healthy meals. Coordinating carpools and answering all the emails and filling out all the forms. It’s never easy, but you stick with it. You wake up each morning and do it all over again. Truth is, you feel a little like a robot at times just going through the motions. You’re exhausted, but you keep motoring on. Why? Because it’s what moms do, right?

You’re amazing, but…

You’re not a machine. You are a unique and amazing person who has her own identity and needs. Yet, moms often push themselves to be all things to everyone. One mom recently confided in me that if she feels guilty if she leaves a little league game early to squeeze in a yoga class. Hey Moms: Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish.

Taking care of yourself is demonstrating Parenting Agency. Agency is being in charge, staying calm and in control, so you can hold onto the reins of your life. It helps people to make better quality decisions through managing their behaviors and adopting certain styles of thinking. Agency is what the best leaders use to be effective. It’s putting on the proverbial oxygen mask first before trying to help others. Otherwise, you don’t bring your best self to the task of motivating and building skills in others. As the family leader, your kids count on you to be confident and calm, in control, and a model for how they will one day make good decisions for themselves. They count on you to show Agency. And sometimes Agency requires you to put your mask on first.

Check out the seven principles that we’ve developed to help people build their personal Agency. It’s a science backed approach to living life more on your terms.

Let’s do a quick check in. Ask yourself this simple question: What matters to me as a person? If your answer is to be the best I can be for my kids and family… you have some work to do. Hit the pause button and reflect. Figure out what makes YOU feel passionate and alive as an individual. And then go for it.

You need to learn, grow, and develop as much as your kids do. Too many moms feel that their kids and family always need to come first. They fear that if they don’t, “the wheels will come off the bus.”

That’s not healthy. It’s parenting by fear — not from a position of confidence. Model for your kids what it means to live a balanced life — where you give all you can to your family, but you also take care of yourself. Strip life back to what works for you.

Don’t let Mother’s Day be the only day that you do something for yourself. This year, promise to do something for yourself every day, not just on Mother’s Day. No matter how small. Spend this year building your Agency and improving and nurturing yourself. Here’s how.

Anthony Rao

Written by

Psychologist, Speaker, and Author of The Power of Agency; The Way of Boys